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Is it Jazz?

randulo

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What is jazz for you? Is it the sound, like Miles Davis, Bird? Standards? Is Acid Jazz jazz? Is slam?
Personally, my own internal definition is music that follow a jazz philosophy:

Mostly improvised, sometimes even in the melodies.
Rhythm that is never straight four with no accents.
Harmony, or conscious use of no harmony.

I don't know I have many feelings that I think define it. Any comments you'd care to make?

Jazz attitude.

Here's a simple song, played very simply. Is it jazz? If so, why

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZ7EvYTCXGw
 

Halfers

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I've read and heard some comments from both contemporary and Historic Musicians that I might class as 'Jazz Musicians' that they really don't think much of the phrase. I've watched a couple of Documentaries on Jazz Musicians recently. There was a quote, and I can't quite remember who it was by (would have been from either Lee Morgan, Miles Davis or John Coltrane, I suspect Davis) that they liked to think of his music more as 'Black Classical Music', rather than Jazz. So I suppose it's meaning would vary. I know that the spectrum of music that I would consider to be within the confines of Jazz, would be very different to what my Old Man would class as Jazz.
 
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randulo

randulo

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Does it matter?
It doesn't matter, I'm just asking people who'd care to, to reflect on the question. The exact same question could be asked of classical music. All of it is subjective.

I think we'd all call the video I posted jazz. I believe it's something to think about and in some cases, perhaps joke about.
I know that what the spectrum of music that would consider to be within the confines of Jazz, would be very different to what my Old Man would class as Jazz.
A lot of people think jazz is dixieland. Even though I'm not a huge fan of it, I think of it as jazz. A lot of fusion, too, would qualify in my mind.
 

Halfers

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A lot of people think jazz is dixieland. Even though I'm not a huge fan of it, I think of it as jazz. A lot of fusion, too, would qualify in my mind.
I've edited my awfully written sentence you've quoted in the original, so it makes a little more sense :)

Yes, my Dad only rates young Jazz Musicians if they play the standards (to test themselves against the greats, he says) Anything else isn't really on his radar. I tell him I like the old fogey stuff he listens to, why can't he open his mind a bit :D
 
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randulo

randulo

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I find that interesting. For some, jazz would be standards, yes. Are you familiar with Grace Kelly's "Bille Jean"? I wonder if that's jazz? (To me yes.)
 

saxyjt

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For me it's very simple. If my wife hates it, that's jazz. If not, it probably doesn't qualify. :w00t:

Derived from that, I take it jazz usually includes certain instruments, like Drums and Double Bass. Also uses these unbearably dissonent chords!

Oh, I almost forgot. It often uses a strangely shaped pipe full of holes that a manic player tries to close with keys, made using animal skin, while blowing into it, producing the most annoying sounds... :confused:
 

altissimo

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a number of musicians like Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Nina Simone and Roland Kirk disliked the word 'jazz' and considered it demeaning because it was derived from a vulgar slang word. Also they had no say in what their music was defined as and the name 'jazz' was foisted on them by white people. - "Jazz is a white term to define black people. My music is black classical music" -. Nina Simone

But like it or not, we're stuck with it.

"Jazz shouldn't have any mandates. Jazz is not supposed to be something that's required to sound like jazz. For me, the word 'jazz' means, 'I dare you.' The effort to break out of something is worth more than getting an A in syncopation." - Wayne Shorter

"Jazz stands for freedom" - Dave Brubeck

"The spirit of jazz is the spirit of openness" -. Herbie Hancock

"Jazz is the big brother of the blues" - BB King

"Music represents nature. Nature represents life. Jazz represents nature. Jazz is life" - Sonny Rollins

"Jazz to me is a living music. It's a music that since its beginning has expressed the feelings, the dreams, hopes, of the people". - Dexter Gordon

"Jazz is a very democratic musical form. It comes out of a communal experience. We take our respective instruments and collectively create a thing of beauty" - Max Roach

“Man, if you have to ask what it is, you’ll never know” - Louis Armstrong
 

Keep Blowing

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a number of musicians like Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Nina Simone and Roland Kirk disliked the word 'jazz' and considered it demeaning because it was derived from a vulgar slang word. Also they had no say in what their music was defined as and the name 'jazz' was foisted on them by white people. - "Jazz is a white term to define black people. My music is black classical music" -. Nina Simone

But like it or not, we're stuck with it.

"Jazz shouldn't have any mandates. Jazz is not supposed to be something that's required to sound like jazz. For me, the word 'jazz' means, 'I dare you.' The effort to break out of something is worth more than getting an A in syncopation." - Wayne Shorter

"Jazz stands for freedom" - Dave Brubeck

"The spirit of jazz is the spirit of openness" -. Herbie Hancock

"Jazz is the big brother of the blues" - BB King

"Music represents nature. Nature represents life. Jazz represents nature. Jazz is life" - Sonny Rollins

"Jazz to me is a living music. It's a music that since its beginning has expressed the feelings, the dreams, hopes, of the people". - Dexter Gordon

"Jazz is a very democratic musical form. It comes out of a communal experience. We take our respective instruments and collectively create a thing of beauty" - Max Roach

“Man, if you have to ask what it is, you’ll never know” - Louis Armstrong
The BB king quote is especially good
 
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randulo

randulo

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Jazz is the blues that went to college!
BB also defined blues as "A good man feelin' bad".
 
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Colin the Bear

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I have no idea how genres are decided upon. For me there's only two genres. That which I like and that which I do not. In the "like" genre there is some rubbish and in the not like there is some quality. Sometimes the contents of each genre are different and pieces move from one to the other. Thinking about it there is another sub genre of undecided. I keep going back to some quality stuff to see if I've changed my mind. I also go back to some older stuff I liked to realise I'm fed up with it and it moves over to not liked.

What was the question?
 
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randulo

randulo

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The question is, to an extent, akin to an interviewer asking, "What does the word 'love' mean to you?".
I asked to get comments of all kinds from you, many of you I am getting to "know" pretty well having read so much from you. For example, Colin, for you, Coltrane's cadenza from I want to Talk About You isn't jazz? I have no problem with your point that genres are irrelevant, although they are used sometimes in the music business. I once had a record label tell me, "What radio station do you imagine we can get this played on?" So, in that light, you'd need to decide, is it the jazz/blues station? It isn't the oldies station, or the country one. You get that analogy, I'm sure.

I think I answered something about what the word jazz means to me. I feel there's a fuzzy definition. Bob Dylan isn't part of that, but Norah Jones might be. Tom Waits might be.

Wait, jazz is like obscenity: "I'll know it when I see it." Wasn't that quote from a Supreme Court judge?
 
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randulo

randulo

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Love that movie! I recall that Queen had an album called "Jazz" which I thought was a nauseating thing at the time. Unless it was mostly improvised?

It reached number two in the UK Albums Chart and number six on the US Billboard 200. Jazz has sold over five million copies worldwide.
Nope, can't be jazz!
 
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randulo

randulo

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Folks, as it happens I finally listened to the Sean Carrol podcast with Wynton Marsalis as guest.
The first part is a discussion about what jazz music is to Marsalis. He says some very interesting things about the phenomenon of 'swing', for example. He talks about the relation to form, time and a bunch of interesting concepts. It's very interesting and good listen, especially for people who want to play jazz, but are fairly new to the idea of playing it. I don't consider myself a jazz player per se, but I have a good understanding of it, having listened a lot and played blues with great jazz musicians.

One of the things in this post was touched upon by Marsalis. Part of his idea of jazz is when you get on the public stage and don't know what you're going to play until you play it. Carrol, a physicist, had just given a talk with notes and his guest compared that to his playing, the 'notes' (of the speech) are like the form of a tune.

Episode 12: Wynton Marsalis on Jazz, Time, and America - Sean Carroll
 
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randulo

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I already wrote this somewhere, but I was walking by a Southern California bar and saw a stage inside. I asked the waitress, "Is there live music tonight?" and her reply was,

"No. Well, ya, just jazz."
 

Wonko

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“Man, if you have to ask what it is, you’ll never know” - Louis Armstrong
Great quote!

In my view, any "label" has its shortcomings. And most importantly, means something different to different people. The "core" of the label will overlap for most people, but everybody will have a different idea of where the borders should be drawn.
Labels can be useful to give a general idea of what to expect. But labels should never be treated as a closed category.

I like Jazz, I like Blues, I like Rock.
Or better: I like some Jazz, I like some Blues, I like some Rock.

A few years ago I heard Herbie Hancock live on Ghent Jazz. I was looking forward to this performance, I have some of his CD's that I like a lot. But what he played that evening didn't agree with me. I left after about 30 minutes, didn't enjoy it at all! I guess he was playing Jazz, but it's not what I like.
 
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